The only person who can lodge an appeal against a planning decision is the person who made the original application, or an agent or consultant employed to make an appeal on their behalf. Objectors to a planning application have no rights of appeal, nor can an appeal be made by someone in support of a planning application which is refused by Council.
You can appeal if:
You have 3 months from the date of the decision notice; or if no decision has been issued, you have 3 months plus 8 weeks (or any longer period you may have agreed) from the date you made your application.
In most cases, the decisions of the planning authority are supported by the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (whose inspectors consider your appeal), but if you feel the decision you have been given is out of line with previous decisions or you have a special case, you may wish to lodge an appeal.
Remember that only factors relating to planning matters can be considered at appeals. Sometimes you may be aggrieved with the Council but not by a genuine planning reason material to your application. If you think there has been maladministration you may have a complaint for the Local Ombudsman – whose free booklet can be obtained from 21 Queens Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9BU.
There is no fee for making an appeal to planning applications so it need not cost you very much. Obviously, professional planning advice may have to be paid for, but in simple cases you may be able to do most or all of the work yourself.
If your case is complicated or key financial interests are at stake, you are advised to retain the services of a consultant chartered town planner in private practice. You will be charged on a time basis in accordance with the firm’s hourly rate. A list of these consultants firms should be available from the Royal Town Planning Institute .
Remember you will normally have to pay your own costs and you can seldom recover them from Council even if you are successful.
Difficulties can sometimes be resolved by negotiation. A second planning application within 12 months of a refusal does not need a further fee if the subject is the same or similar. In such negotiations it may help to engage a consultant chartered town planner to help to reach an agreement. Remember you must lodge your appeal within 3 months; but pursuing an appeal should be considered a last resort, when all else has failed.
Under certain circumstances it is possible to keep an appeal in abeyance while negotiations continue. This would not prejudice your case, should you finally decide to pursue the appeal – and you can of course withdraw an appeal at any time, simply by informing the Secretary of State and the Council.
You and your agent must appeal to the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals. The easiest way of doing this is online via the ePlanning.scot website. Alternatively you can get a form from the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals, 4 The Courtyard, Callendar Business Park, Callendar Road, Falkirk FK1 1XR. Tel: 01324 696 400.
It is important that you fill the online or paper form out correctly and comprehensively and attach all the necessary copies of relevant documents. The appeal will be handled on the basis of what you put on the form, so make sure you state all your reasons for appealing. Be succinct – make the facts stand out, and make sure your argument is presented in a logical manner. Techniques such as numbered paragraphs, with references grouped, will help an inspector to follow your case.
There are two kinds of appeal – written representation or public inquiry:
It is usually easier and quicker to use this method, providing the Council agrees, as it avoids the expense of an Inquiry. What happens follows a simple timetable. You make out a full statement in writing as to why you feel you have a case and the Council does the same. You will see the Councils case and it will see yours, and you will both have the chance to comment. The Inspector receives this information plus any factual backup information that may be desirable, makes a site visit and then reaches a decision.
It is often a good idea to get someone to help you draft your statement and it may be that a consultant chartered town planner, or the Planning Aid Service if it exists in your area, will be useful to you.
You are entitled to have a Public Inquiry if you want one. Although it follows formal procedures, the Inspector will always try to ensure that everyone is at their ease. If there are any particular points or statements from supporters which you feel would come out better, or you wish to cross-examine the local planning authority rather that just make points on its evidence, then this is the method to use. You can do the cross-examining yourself, or you may prefer to use a consultant chartered town planner. In certain circumstances the services of a solicitor would be desirable. If you are going to the expense of an Inquiry for yourself and your witnesses, it is usually better to seek professional advice to present your case.
Most appeals are determined for the Scottish Government by one of his Planning Inspectors. This means that once the Inquiry is complete or the written representations are received, a decision is fairly quick as it does not need confirmation. It does, however, take a little time to set up a Public Inquiry. There is a rough guideline that written representations should be cleared within 4 months after the date you appealed, and a decision after an Appeal Inquiry should reach you within 6 months unless it is a very complicated subject.
You can only challenge on a point of law or if you feel the requirements of the Planning Acts or rules of procedures have not been carried out. When you get the appeal decision, a leaflet will be enclosed with it explaining the way in which it may be challenged. This challenge must be made through the High Court and you will need legal advice. Unless the advice you are given shows you have a reasonable case, it is unlikely that you will win and to proceed may make you liable to pay the Councils costs.
In the first instance, please contact the Development Quality Team for further advice on planning appeals.
You can also contact Planning Aid for Scotland for assistance on:
125 Princes Street
Edinburgh EH2 4AD
For more detailed information on the appeal procedures beyond what is provided via this website refer to the Scottish Government's Circular 4/2013 - Planning Appeals .
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000